Other Conditions & Exposures

Expert reports about Other Conditions & Exposures


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is adrenal insufficiency?

The adrenal glands are a pair of glands located just above the kidneys, one adrenal atop each kidney. Adrenal insufficiency refers to reduced function, or lack of function, of the outer section of the adrenal gland, called the adrenal cortex. The job of the adrenal cortex is to produce hormones in response to stress, and to release those hormones into the bloodstream. There are two types of these hormones. One type, called glucocorticoids, increases your blood sugar level to give you energy. The other type, called mineralocorticoids, affect the levels of ions in your blood, particularly sodium and potassium, and modify the passage of those ions through the kidneys into the urine. This, in turn, affects the amount of water in your blood, your blood pressure, and the function of cells. People with adrenal insufficiency experience fatigue, low blood pressure, low sodium and high potassium in the blood, and behavioral problems.


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